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Sawankhalok Ware Covered Box with a conch handle, a band of star, and a band of vegetal scroll design

Accession Number
2005/1.462A&B

Title
Sawankhalok Ware Covered Box with a conch handle, a band of star, and a band of vegetal scroll design

Artist(s)
Thai

Object Creation Date
14th century - 15th century

Medium & Support
stoneware with brown and cream glaze

Dimensions
3 9/16 in x 4 5/16 in x 4 5/16 in (9 cm x 11 cm x 11 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Doris Duke's Southeast Asian Art Collection

Label copy
March 28, 2009
These small covered boxes were created in kilns at Sawankhalok, the largest ceramic production site in Thailand. It is situated by the Yom River, which provides easy access to the port for the Southeast Asian island trade. From the thirteenth to sixteenth centuries, Sawankhalok was the major competitor to the kilns in Vietnam and Southern China. While Vietnam successfully produced inexpensive copies of Chinese blue underglazed porcelains, Thai kilns adopted the Chinese designs but used iron (which results in a brown color) in place of cobalt oxide for underglazing. Though this covered box with leaf scroll and lattice design shares the sensibility of Chinese and Vietnamese blue-underglaze wares, the brown color gives it a rustic feeling.
Covered boxes were used as burial objects to accompany the dead and were also objects of status and wealth, for the local kilns only produced less durable and inexpensive earthernwares.
(Label for UMMA South and Southest Asia Gallery Opening Rotation, March 2009)

Subject matter
Covered boxes were used as burial objects to accompany the dead. This practice for the care of deceased people in afterlife preceded the succession of foreign religious influence from Buddhism, Hinduism to Islam. The stoneware trade ceramics were also objects of status and wealth, for the local kilns only produced less durable and inexpensive earthernwares. The round shape with a handle, and some of the design motifs were adopted from stone and metal reliquaries and architectural elements came with Indian Hinduism and Buddhism.

Physical Description
Small-size covered box, with a handle surrounded by a raised stylized calyx, which imitates the growth pattern of the top of a mangosteen, and a band of star points at the rim of the lid. The body has a band of vegetal scrolls. Brown-and-cream glaze.

Primary Object Classification
Ceramic

Primary Object Type
box

Additional Object Classification(s)
Decorative Arts

Rights
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& Author Notes

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